Archd. Kansas City breaks with Girl Scouts, tied to Big Business Abortion provider Planned Parenthood, etc.

I was alerted to a statement (HERE) from His Excellency Most Reverend Joseph Naumann that the Archdiocese of Kansas City (Kansas) is instructing parishes to cut their ties with the Girl Scouts because of their support of Big Business Abortion – Planned Parenthood.

Statement Regarding Archdiocesan Transition from Girl Scouts to American Heritage Girls
By Archbishop Joseph F Naumann
May 1, 2017

After several consultations with the Presbyteral Council and with the recommendation of our Office for Youth Ministry, I have asked the pastors of the Archdiocese to begin the process of transitioning away from the hosting of parish Girl Scout troops and toward the chartering of American Heritage Girls troops.  [I haven’t heard of them.  But this is a good sign.]

Pastors were given the choice of making this transition quickly, [recommended] or to, over the next several years, “graduate” the Scouts currently in the program. Regardless of whether they chose the immediate or phased transition, parishes should be in the process of forming American Heritage Girl troops, at least for their kindergarteners, this fall.

The decision to end our relationship with Girl Scouting was not an easy one. Over a period of many years, our Archdiocesan Youth Ministry staff spent hundreds of hours researching concerns regarding the policies of both the International and the National Girl Scouting organizations. In addition, they have spent hundreds of hours in dialogue with Scouts, parents, pastors, and national Girl Scouting representatives regarding our concerns with disturbing content in materials and resources developed and promulgated by the national organization. I personally have been in conversation with national and local Girl Scout leaders regarding my concerns about the new direction of national Girl Scouting reflected in the content of their program materials.

Eventually it came down to this. Our greatest responsibility as a church is to the children and young people in our care. We have a limited time and number of opportunities to impact the formation of our young people. It is essential that all youth programs at our parishes affirm virtues and values consistent with our Catholic faith. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

To follow Jesus and his Gospel will often require us to be counter-cultural. With the promotion by Girl Scouts USA (GSUSA) of programs and materials reflective of many of the troubling trends in our secular culture, they are no longer a compatible partner in helping us form young women with the virtues and values of the Gospel.

The national organization, for example, contributes more than a million dollars each year to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS), an organization tied to International Planned Parenthood and its advocacy for legislation that includes both contraception and abortion as preventive health care for women.

Margret Sanger, Betsy Friedan and Gloria Steinem are frequently held up in materials as role models for young Scouts. [Disgusting.] These as well as many other “role models” in the GSUSA’s new manuals and web content not only do not reflect our Catholic worldview but stand in stark opposition to what we believe.

While I am grateful that offensive and completely age-inappropriate material was recently removed by GSUSA from portions of their Journey series of manuals in response to concerns raised by the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and others, it is disturbing such an intervention on our part was necessary. We prefer to partner with youth organizations that share our values and vision for youth ministry, not ones that we have to monitor constantly to protect our children from being misled and misinformed.

American Heritage Girls, a program based on Christian values, we believe is a much better fit for our parishes. I encourage you to read more about the American Heritage Girl program by going to its website, For more information about the history of and issues surrounding our Girl Scouting decision, go to

On a final note, I want to express my appreciation for the many extraordinary Girl Scout leaders of the archdiocese who have served so many so well. We look forward to having as many of them as are willing join us in leadership roles as we take this new step into the formation of our girls. I will always be grateful for their exceptional service.

Fr. Z kudos to Archbishop Naumann.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. EverydayTrad says:

    I have great memories of my years in Girl Scouts. It makes me sad that the organization has become something that I’d never allow my daughter to be a part of. I hope other dioceses follow suit.

  2. GreggW says:

    Our daughter is involved in a local chapter of the American Heritage Girls, which meets at a Catholic parish church. It is a good group.

  3. majuscule says:

    Hmmm. Should I venture over to the Fishwrap and see if they have anything to say about their bishop?


    I, too, was a Girl Scout. It was an uplifting and moral time in the 1950s. We weren’t trying to be men (or even Boy Scouts). And we didn’t just learn girl stuff either.

  4. liebemama says: Federation of North American Explorers is part of the greater Union Internationale des Guides et Scoutesisme Europeen
    We are Catholic.

  5. Mary Jane says:

    It is uncomfortable when the GS troops have tables set up in the local grocery store and the girls call to shoppers walking by, asking them to buy their cookies. I never do, but I also don’t feel like I can explain why I cannot. I usually just say “not today, thank you” which, come to think of it, isn’t the best thing to say either. Sigh!

  6. Adaquano says:

    Cue the outrage from the left

  7. johnnys says:

    Mary Jane……there are always parents nearby that you can tell why you do not support their organization. It is imperative that we do that. For one thing you might be letting someone know who did not know.

  8. Kathleen10 says:

    Many thanks to Archbishop Naumann. Here is a man who takes his responsibility seriously.
    I was a Brownie and then a Girl Scout. It makes me sad too, to see what it’s become.
    I love children so much, they are a joy, and they deserve to grow up in a moral environment and culture. It causes me distress that they cannot, because there is an obvious battle being waged for the hearts, minds, and souls of our children. I see it every day, and the damage it does.
    Jesus, protect these, your most vulnerable, from evil people who seek to do them harm.

  9. John says:

    Now when is someone going to stand up and remove The BSA from parishes in favor of Trail Life USA?

  10. Marie Veronica says:

    I second EverydayTrad. I hope other bishops follow suit. This was the primary reason I didn’t let my daughter continue with Girl Scouts. She quit in Kindergarten (Catholic school) after I learned of this connection in 2010. I talked to some other moms about my discomfort but they were “dug-in” to GS and not really receptive to the concern. It’s great there is an alternative with American Heritage girls and I hope they flourish.

  11. Mary Jane says:

    johnnys, yes, this is true, but I should have been more specific–I don’t feel like I can explain my reasons to the parents either. When I size up the situation my “radar” just says, “be brief, be pleasant, be gone”. So I do.

  12. Mary Jane says:

    johnnys I should have added that If I were pressed of course I would tell the parents why I won’t support the GS, but I don’t feel comfortable stating it up front.

  13. Tim in Dixie says:

    Expect the Kansas City Star newspaper to attack the good archbishop with the same vitriol they leveled at Bishop Finn recently. They got one bishop fired; are they hoping for two?

  14. un-ionized says:

    It’s more camping than scouting but there are the Troops of St. George.

  15. Gerard Plourde says:

    While I certainly agree that some positions held by the Girl Scouts are at variance with Catholic teaching, I would like to know more about the theological background of American Heritage Girls before I gave it Church endorsement. I’m old enough to remember when the Bishops were on guard against the dangers of indifferentism and counseled against membership in the Y.M.C.A. because of the heavy doses of Protestant theology that it embodied. I certainly wouldn’t want my daughter to be instructed that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura or the doctrine that salvation can be achieved by simply declaring the words that Jesus is one’s personal Savior without reforming one’s life accordingly have any validity. These heresies are equally dangerous to the faith.

  16. CrimsonCatholic says:

    The good readers of this blog should let the bishop know that they support this stance, because the left is going to drum up the outrage from it’s base to attack the bishop.

  17. myfivefish says:

    25% of American Heritage Girls’ membership is chartered through Catholic parishes, they have a Natuonal Catholic Committee, and Bishop Conley is their Episcopal moderator. They also have created a Respect Life patch and multiple Catholic patches, including the newest commemorating the 100th year anniversary of Fatima. +Naumann and his Youth Ministry office have spent years dialoging with GS and AHG; this transition was not made in haste nor without proper due diligence.
    Prayers for, and in thanks for, +Naumann. He is one of the really good ones.

  18. Precentrix says:

    Another vote here for the Federation of North-American Explorers / Guides and Scouts of Europe. Proper traditional scouting as per Baden-Powell, “baptized” through and through and recognized as a formal association by the Church.

  19. robtbrown says:

    majuscule says:

    Hmmm. Should I venture over to the Fishwrap and see if they have anything to say about their bishop?

    Abp Naumann is the ordinary in Kansas City, Kansas.
    Kansas City, Missouri is separate diocese, whose ordinary is Bp Johnston.

  20. TabithaRaised says:

    Like Mary Jane, I too am put between the Rock and a hard spot when it comes to walking past the girls selling the cookies. Should we evangelize at that moment? Maybe next year, I will keep a brochure about the subject in my purse, to hand their mothers, so they can be more reflective on whose leadership in forming young women should be followed.

  21. Jack007 says:

    No need to check the typically vile comments section of the Fishwrap (aka NCR). The comments section of the KC Star is enough. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you like to read people call Catholics and the Archbishop all matter of ugly names. Don’t bother trying to reply, as in typical liberal fashion most if not all contrary comments are soon deleted by the mods. Its like an echo chamber for the Left.
    Its times like these where we can see the persecution our Lord warned us about. And I fear its only going to get worse.

  22. Stephen Matthew says:

    I should note a key difference between Girl Scouts (GSUSA) and American Heritage Girls has to do with the nature of the relationship between the organization and the parish/diocese. Simply put, American Heritage Girls grants you a franchise to use their program, and you as a parish will own and operate the local chapter as an integral part of your youth program, it is a very cooperative type of relationship with the parish having large leeway to do as it wishes. With Girl Scouts, the GSUSA retains full ownership and operational control of the troop and the parish only provides resources to it, the Girl Scout organization retains full control.

    The American Heritage Girls modeled their system (almost as a copy and paste) of charter partner relationships on that used by the BSA, which is a model also adopted with varying degrees of modification by the Troops of Saint George, Trail Life, and it looks like also the Federation of North American Explorers uses a similar system. This ability to have local control and actually integrate the program fully is very important, and it was something totally lacking from GSUSA that does not use a charter partner relationship.

    It is very hard to overcome momentum/inertia in such programs, if you switch to something new all your old training, books, materials, experience, etc. is suddenly invalid and must be started from the ground up all over again. At the request of the local diocese I continue to work with the BSA program. While I do have objections to national level decisions, the charter arrangement lets the diocese and parishes mostly do what we want. However, if I were looking to start a scouting type program in a place that currently lacks it, it would be tempting to investigate the Federation of North American Explorers, which is both tied to the history of Scouting in Europe and is explicitly Catholic. The Troops of Saint George and Trail Life are not really scouting in my view. Also, in some areas (such as where I am) the American Heritage Girls and Trail Life can have a very Protestant mindset at the local level (to the point the local leaders I know privately think Catholics aren’t Christians).

  23. TimG says:

    This scandal has been going on for years. Finally someone has the courage to speak up about it. Kudos to the Abp.

    I also second the comments about the BSA, which is also a source of scandal for the last few years. There are options. E.g. The troops of St George.

  24. PTK_70 says:

    There’s a lot to like here: thorough investigation, courageous decision-making, pastorally sensitive explanation. Yet……isn’t this just the sort of tough decision-making that Our Lord asks of His bishops?

    @Gerard Plourde……what you’ve mentioned is just the reason I could never get really comfortable with Trail Life USA. Following is an excerpt from their Statement of Faith (which “all adults in leadership roles…must agree to sign and adhere to”): We believe the Holy Scriptures (Old and New Testaments) to be the inspired and authoritative Word of God.

    I think Catholics would much prefer to say that Christ Himself is the Word (Logos) of God. Anyway, the feeling I had (and still have) was that local leadership had to make a little extra effort in order to give their Trail Life troop a Catholic “flavor,” pardon the expression.

    Personally, I think now is a good time for the Knights of Columbus to make a push to start up Squire Circles.

  25. SKAY says:

    I have many wonderful memories of bring in all the different levels of Girl Scouts including being
    a co leader when my girls were also members through the end of grade school. My daughter was looking forward to allowing her daughter to do the same and volunteered to be a leader. It took her one year to realize that the program was going in a different direction than she had experienced and did not continue as a leader nor did she allow my granddaughter to continue. She and I were both very disappointed since we both had enjoyed our years in the Girl Scout program.
    We also have made the decision not to buy Girl Scout cookies because of their ties to PP and the direction this organization is being led but it is very difficult to disappoint the young girls.
    This Archbishop is very wise.

  26. Antonia D says:

    Even though Girl Scouts was a terrific organization when I was growing up, I’m glad to hear the Archbishop has made the hard decision to break diocesan connections with them. Because of their ties to abortion and the sexual revolution, I don’t buy GS cookies anymore either.

    We’ve been with American Heritage Girls (AHG) for 3 years and our experience has been great. (FYI I’m a very conservative, traditional-leaning Catholic & homeschooling mom.) We’re in a fully Catholic group chartered by the local parish, and we attend Mass together, ask for the intercession of saints, & pray Hail Marys all the time. :) We have a short religious teaching before almost every meeting and work on Catholic-specific religious pins, along with LOTS of service in the church & community, and the other traditional scouting badges and activities like camping & outdoor skills, science, sports, arts, American heritage, family living, etc.

    I would have my doubts about placing my daughter in a *Protestant*-chartered AHG group, but that’s the same as for any other organization.

    AHG was developed by Protestants, but its mission statement is very bare-bones Christian, and is completely compatible with Catholics and our doctrines. It doesn’t contain anything like Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, or even indifferentism (AHG is merely a scouting organization and ITS mission is limited in scope – but that *doesn’t* mean it pronounces that all Christian denominations are equal). AHG is a wonderful and Christ-centered alternative to Girl Scouts. I believe that Catholic groups are the biggest growth area in AHG.

  27. Antonia D says:

    FYI I believe Trail Life and AHG are linked “brother-sister” organizations, although Trail Life is much newer. I can’t find any Catholic Trail Life groups in our area for my son, but I’m hoping to get one started. Troops of St. George is spectacular, but for technical reasons we can’t join that group for my son. He’s a Columbian Squire and a member of Kepha already (which are terrific!), but those organizations aren’t camping and scouting focused. We definitely need more men to lead these groups for boys in our parishes!

  28. Antonia D says:

    @PTK_70….. Of course Catholics believe, as in the AHG and Trail Life statements of faith, “the Holy Scriptures (Old and New Testaments) to be the inspired and authoritative Word of God.” Why would you think that is incorrect? You are right in thinking that Christ is, in a larger and more complete sense, the Logos – the Word of God. And Protestants do cut off the Church/Magisterium and Sacred Tradition in their belief systems, but that’s no reason to be weak on Holy Scripture as Catholics. May God grant peace and blessings to you & yours! +JMJ+

  29. Genevieve says:

    We chose Little Flower Girl’s Club for our kindergartener- no question about it being Catholic! Each badge is a “virtue” with a female saint and scripture verse chosen to illuminate the way we are to live out the virtue.

    I wish that my diocese (or even just my parish for that matter) would ban Girl Scouts, but since they haven’t, I took it upon myself to offer LFGC as an alternative. We are a small group, but with the support of our parochial vicar, we are growing! We are currently the only k-2 girls’ group offered at our parish and parochial school so hopefully we will phase out GS. AHG is fine, but I’m happy to have something so solidly Catholic.

  30. PTK_70 says:

    @Antonia D….Thank you for sharing! I guess to get right to the point: it seems to me that “bare bones” Christianity *is* Catholic Christianity. So if I’m right, then either Trail Life is Catholic from the start or it’s corrupted (with bad Protestant doctrine) from the start. I am not prepared to pass judgment one way or another, nor is it for me to pass judgment. What I can say is that the excerpt I quoted from the Trail Life faith statement is at best ambiguous.

    To amplify my comment re: Squire Circles, I rather think that leadership could make the local Circle as “outdoorsy” as it wants.

  31. un-ionized says:

    The catechism says that Holy Scripture is inspired and authoritative. I don’t see why there is a problem with this. Unless we don’t understand what those two words mean.

  32. PTK_70 says:

    @un-ionized…..Having scoured the article of the Catechism devoted to Sacred Scripture (101-141), I was unable to find the term “authoritative” used as an adjective to describe the Scriptures. I did, however, find the following (108):

    [T]he Christian faith is not a “religion of the book.” Christianity is the religion of the “Word” of God, a word which is “not a written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living.”

    I would like to repeat, so as to highlight my main point: “bare bones” Christianity is Catholic Christianity. The so-called Reformers, as well intentioned as they may have been, did not succeed in distilling out some “purer” or more elemental form of Christianity.

  33. Thorfinn says:

    Re the Squires –

    The Knights are officially discouraging the formation of new Squires Circles, instead integrating youth activities with parish youth groups.

    Re the Troops of St George –

    It is true that is more camping than the full scouting experience. But this misses the critical point of TSG: it is more about the full Catholic experience than about camping. This emphasis is what makes it a very attractive option for my family.

  34. Antonia D says:

    @Genevieve, I’m glad you put in a good word for Little Flowers Girl’s Club (LFGC). It is wonderful as well! I’m writing this in case someone’s looking for recommendations for their kids…

    We belonged to LFGC when my daughter was younger (the club serves older girls also), and it was a truly lovely, enlightening, and lively group. The girls learned about the Catholic faith, saints, service, and had a *lot* of fun together. I would VERY highly recommend Little Flowers groups for any Catholic girl (and her mom, too)!

    We moved to American Heritage Girls (AHG) because we were looking for a traditional scouting-type group with all kinds of badges & activities in different areas of learning (both religious and temporal/practical skills), camping & outdoors, uniforms, etc., as well as faith, service, social skills & friendships, leadership, and virtues. LFGC has these things, too, just in different proportions and with slightly different emphasis. In a more traditional scouting group, I think the balance tips a bit more towards the badges and general learning activities than it did in Little Flowers (which tipped a bit more toward faith activities, at least in our group). AHG does prioritize faith and service over badges, but with all the badge work available, members’ time is divided differently. I think if a girl had time, she could benefit from belonging to both LFGC and AHG.

    There is a great place for both Little Flowers and American Heritage Girls, and I’m sure the other groups mentioned above, in Catholic parishes. It just depends on the needs of the girl. Same with the Columbian Squires, Troops of St. George, and Trail Life (and others) for boys.

    It’s too bad the Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts have become too secular/sexual to be part of our parishes anymore. The “fall” of the Girl Scouts, and more recently the Boy Scouts, is a great loss for our culture.

  35. un-ionized says:

    Rather than search for a particular word to fulfill an agenda, it is usually better to understand what something means.

  36. PTK_70 says:

    @Thorfinn…..Thanks for sharing the news about the Squires. I wasn’t aware of their “suppression.”

    @un-ionized…..Believe me, I have turned over the term “authoritative” in my head. I think its absence from the article in the CCC on Sacred Scripture is not accidental. Look, evangelical Protestants see the Bible as authoritative and theirs is a religion of the Book. Can Catholics think of the Scriptures as “authoritative?” I suppose that depends on what is meant by the term. But Dei Verbum of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council applies the term “authority” to the “teaching office of the Church,” as quoted in the Catechism (CCC 85). I think this is an important discussion, or else I wouldn’t continue with it, but I’d ask that you make specific references to show the weakness of my position, if indeed you think it incorrect.

  37. un-ionized says:

    Antonia D, yes, that is why we say Verbum Domini, Deo gratias, at Mass.

  38. hwriggles4 says:

    PTK 70 and Thorfinn:

    I don’t know where your information is coming from the Squires. I am a 3rd degree Knight and my council sponsors and fairly large, well received, and active Squires Circle. Squires can earn achievements, they have leadership opportunities, and even an award similar to the Eagle Scout award. Many of the boys between 10 and 17 are Altar Boys and assist the priests. They even held a retreat this past summer where Fr. Wade Menezes came to speak – I was helping a little with it, and the boys were impressed. This Squires Circle begins their monthly meeting with Mass. If I had a son it would be a good experience – particularly with a viable Circle like this one,and the boys experience fraternity with positive male role models.

    Our parish also has a Junior Catholic Daughters Chapter that is active as well. A nearby parish has a Kepha chapter, where I believe teens can join up to 21.

  39. PTK_70 says:

    @hwriggles4….Not saying I like it but here’s a link confirming what Thorfinn said:

  40. arga says:

    Great move but, to be honest, spending all those “hundreds of hours in dialogue” was really pointless. The GSA were “outed” many years ago. It didn’t take much to see that they were undermining Catholic teaching badly, and for a long time. You don’t “dialogue” with these kinds of groups.

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